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Soviet Revisions

Oleg Gordievsky

7 February 1991
Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy 
by Dmitri Volkogonov, edited and translated by Harold Shukman.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £29.95, February 1991, 0 297 81080 4
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Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations 
by Walter Laqueur.
Unwin Hyman, 383 pp., £16.95, February 1991, 0 04 440769 6
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The Prosecutor and the Prey: Vyshinsky and the 1930s Moscow Show Trials 
by Arkady Vaksberg, translated by Jan Butler.
Weidenfeld, 374 pp., £25, October 1990, 0 297 81064 2
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... DmitriVolkogonov, General of the Soviet Army, head of the Institute of Military History and admirer of Gorbachev, has produced the most authoritative biography of Stalin we have read so far. There is no doubt that he ...
5 October 1995
Lenin: His Life and Legacy 
by Dmitri Volkogonov, translated and edited by Harold Shukman.
HarperCollins, 529 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 00 255270 1
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Lenin: A Political Life. Vol. III: The Iron Ring 
by Robert Service.
Macmillan, 393 pp., £45, January 1995, 0 333 29392 4
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... to open their doors to researchers. And more important, the disappearance of the state he created means that biographies of Lenin need no longer be loaded with value judgments about the Soviet Union. DmitriVolkogonov enjoyed unique access to hitherto unpublished Lenin documents in the former Central Party Archives (3724 in all, he tells us) and to other classified material of major significance ...

The Old Man

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Trotsky

22 April 2010
Trotsky: A Biography 
by Robert Service.
Macmillan, 600 pp., £9.99, April 2010, 978 0 330 43969 5
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Stalin’s Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky 
by Bertrand Patenaude.
Faber, 472 pp., £9.99, March 2010, 978 0 571 22876 8
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... to be discussed in print. There was a small surge of interest in Trotsky among Soviet intellectuals in the late 1980s, but the collapse of the Soviet Union ensured that it was short-lived. In 1992 DmitriVolkogonov, a former general in the Soviet army who had made a splash a few years earlier with a revisionist biography of Stalin, came out with a sensational Trotsky biography (published in English ...

Just like that

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Second-Guessing Stalin

5 April 2018
Stalin, Vol. II: Waiting for Hitler, 1928-41 
by Stephen Kotkin.
Allen Lane, 1154 pp., £35, October 2017, 978 0 7139 9945 7
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... of whom there are now many, come with all sorts of personal agendas and emotional predispositions. Henri Barbusse admired his subject, Trotsky and Isaac Deutscher wanted to cut him down to size. DmitriVolkogonov wrote in late Soviet disillusionment, and the German historian Jörg Baberowski in contemptuous disgust. When I was writing my study of Stalin and his closest associates, On Stalin’s ...
11 July 1991
Moscow and Beyond: 1986-1989 
by Andrei Sakharov.
Hutchinson, 168 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 09 174972 7
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Fatal Half-Measures: The Allure of Democracy in the Soviet Union 
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, edited and translated by Antonia Bovis.
Little, Brown, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1991, 0 316 96883 8
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... each other, and by the serious lack of available documentary accounts of the main events of the Soviet period, including the most recent. Even the biography of Stalin by the military historian DmitriVolkogonov is as much a reflection of the priorities of the age of Gorbachev – that is, to effect a complete break between Lenin and Stalin, keeping the halo more or less burnished above the head ...

A Regular Bull

Christopher Hitchens

31 July 1997
Whittaker Chambers: A Biography 
by Sam Tanenhaus.
Random House, 640 pp., $35, February 1997, 0 394 58559 3
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... which the Cavalier. As soon as possible after the collapse of Communism, Hiss asked the Russian authorities to look in their files and clear his name which, under the stewardship of the late General DmitriVolkogonov, they briefly did. This impressed a good number of people: why would Hiss take the risk of asking for a search in the first place? However, subsequent disclosures from the Hungarian ...
3 October 1996
Moscow: Governing the Socialist Metropolis 
by Timothy Colton.
Harvard, 958 pp., £25.95, January 1996, 0 674 58741 3
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... of houses taken over by the workers reached 100. This is how we resolved the housing question. The would-be assassin was identified – possibly wrongly, according to Lenin’s Soviet biographer, DmitriVolkogonov – as Dora Kaplan, a Social Revolutionary and former Tsarist political prisoner, who testified that she shot him because he was a traitor to the socialist cause: by no stretch of the ...

Charmer

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Stalin’s Origins

1 November 2007
Young Stalin 
by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
Weidenfeld, 397 pp., £25, May 2007, 978 0 297 85068 7
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... This started to change around the time of the fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of its archives. In his 1988 biography, Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy, the first to be based on archival research, DmitriVolkogonov presented both a real person, capable of emotional reactions and contradictions, and, more surprisingly, a real intellectual who remained a serious, wide-ranging reader all his life. Later ...

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